Albert and Mary Rivera are grateful of the positive support they’ve received in the last week. Their daughter, Jordyn, was among the 58 killed in the Las Vegas mass shooting on Oct. 1.
Despite losing Jordyn to tragedy, the Riveras believe her spirit remains alive among students, faculty, and staff at Cal State San Bernardino.
“Everytime we hug you, we hug her,” Albert told the one hundred or so that attended a vigil at the university Tuesday. “Please don’t be strangers. I’m sure everyone of you has a story.”
Several people took turns describing Rivera’s influence on their lives and spoke about her commitment to the campus. The 21-year-old was completing her Bachelors of Science degree in Healthcare Management and was President of the Eta Sigma Gamma chapter on campus.
Among those who spoke was university President Tomas Morales, who demonstrated his grief through tears.
“Jordyn was special,” expressed Morales. “You couldn’t help but believe she was going to have a positive impact on countless lives and throughout the community after she graduated.”
Classmates and professors described Rivera as a “beautiful soul” that always had a smile on her face and was always present to help others in times of need.
“The positive lens in which she saw the world allowed her to practice kindness and compassion in every single interaction,” remarked Professor Angie Verissimo. “It is in fact from the memories of these kind and compassionate interactions that many in this room, myself included, have drawn their strength from.”
CSUSB student James Eckholdt described Jordyn as a “sister” who helped him overcome hardships as a student.
“I was just starting [school] and I didn’t know the way,” he said. “She was always there to comfort me–to tell me that it was in God’s hands.”
Rivera, 21, attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival with her mother and was fatally shot by gunman Stephen Paddock from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort. She died in Mary’s arms that evening.
Mary shared with the audience some of her daughter’s final thoughts, which included her reflection about her “full life.”
“She was talking about, ‘You know Mom, I can honestly say I’ve had a full life,” said Mary. “And I said, ‘Really at 21 you could say that?’ She said, ‘Yeah.’ For us, it’s the hope and promise that we will see her [again]. It has been our strength to get us through.”